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Best and Worst from Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Week 3 win over the Denver Broncos

Finding the good, and not hiding the bad, in Tampa’s second win of the season

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

After dropping their first game of the season the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have come out victorious in their last two, giving them a 2-1 record heading into their Week 4 match-up against the Los Angeles Chargers.

However, before we get to them we have to finish up our review of how the Bucs did against the Denver Broncos. Yes, they won, and it’s always good to win. We couldn’t call ourselves a comprehensive site though if we didn’t still address some of the downside to the positive outcome in Week 3.

So, here we go, with our best and worst of the Buccaneers’ Week 3 win over the Denver Broncos.

THE BEST

ANTOINE WINFIELD JR.

Has there been a better rookie start to a previous Bucs player, ever? There probably has, but still, the way Antoine Winfield Jr. has impacted Todd Bowles’ defense is nothing short of spectacular.

On Sunday, the rookie defensive back came up with six combined tackles, one for a loss, a pass defended, a hit on the Broncos’ quarterback, and a sack. He could have had an interception as well, but another Bucs defender broke up the pass he had a beat on before he could get to it. It happens.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Denver Broncos Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Seriously, we’re going to need NFL photographers to start getting more shots of Winfield, because the way he’s playing, we’re going to be writing a lot more about him in the coming weeks.

Oh, not to mention when Sean Murphy-Bunting left with an injury, he stepped into a new role while Mike Edwards stepped onto the field as a safety. He was drafted for his versatility, and has proven to be everything he was advertised to be.

Honestly, we could list just about every key defensive member, but we’re going to spread the love a bit.

SHAQUIL BARRETT’S RETURN

There may not have been anyone more hyped up for this match-up than Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker, Shaquil Barrett.

Barrett started his career in Denver as an undrafted free-agent out of Colorado State University. Then, given the cold shoulder without even a legitimate chance to earn a starting job, he left Colorado looking for a chance, not a promise.

Which is exactly what Todd Bowles and the Bucs offered him. He turned it into amazing production in 2019 and a franchise tag payday in 2020. Now, he’s on a mission to secure long-term security for he and his family, and I for one, expect him to do so.

Entering Week 3 however, some murmurs had started rising up as Barrett hadn’t yet notched even one sack on the season.

Well, he did so on Sunday, twice. Barrett finished third on the team in tackles and had two of the Bucs’ five sacks on the day.

Quite the homecoming, and hopefully the spark he needed to notch what I expect to be a 15 sack campaign in 2020.

BLOCKING TIGHT ENDS WHO CAN CATCH

Rob Gronkowski sent a few laughs through Bucs Nation when he proclaimed he was a blocking tight end. Truth is, he can block really well, but he’s as good as he has been because he can block and catch.

The questions have come up because the Buccaneers’ 12-personnel base offense hasn’t produced a lot of tight end - well - production.

Coming into this game starting tight ends O.J. Howard and Gronkowski had combined for just seven catches, 58-yards, and one touchdown. Not each. Combined.

In Week 3, the duo hauled in a combined nine catches for 97-yards. Neither found the end zone, but their impact was felt, significantly.

THE WORST

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Denver Broncos Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

HAMSTRING INJURIES

Sean Murphy-Bunting has been a big part of a young secondary which has impressed early and has only seemed to get better each week. The group took a big hit when he left the game due to an apparent hamstring injury.

Chris Godwin has been a rising star since he entered the league, and broke out strong in 2019. This year however has not been kind to the young receiver in a contract year as he’s already missed one game with a concussion, and had to leave this one with his own hamstring injury.

It’s unknown right now whether either will miss significant time, but add these two most recent cases to Mike Evans’ Week 1 issues, and it’s one more trend which nobody wants to see continuing in 2020.

PENALTIES

For the second time this season the ‘p’ word enters the worst category. Penalties are never good, but a lack of them would certainly land this above the fold. I thought we were on our way there in fact, when the Bucs entered halftime with just two penalties, neither of which turned out all that detrimental. Even though one of them did come on Denver’s lone touchdown drive of the game.

In the second-half, the Bucs committed seven penalties. One coming on the punt following a safety which negated what would have been midfield offensive possession, and then another on the drive which ultimately led to a punt.

They didn’t kill Tampa Bay’s chances of winning this game, but seven penalties in a half against legitimate playoff contenders in the future will significantly hinder this team’s chances of winning against stiffer competition.

RUNNING GAME

Grain of salt time, there were some good runs negated by penalties, and if those were counted it wouldn’t look as bad as it does.

However, the final stat line for Tampa Bay’s running attack reads 20 carries for 68-yards and no touchdowns. Tom Brady also had five runs credited, but we’ll leave those out.

The running back group combined for six receptions and 51-yards as well, which certainly helps, but I’m talking just running game here.

If the Buccaneers get into the situations they want to be in against some of the better teams in the NFL, they’ll need to be able to control the clock and keep quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers off the field as long as possible.

This means a running game which can take control of the game when needed.

At the end of the day, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are taking home a win, and that’s the important part. They’ll return to work this week looking to sharpen up their dull edges and continue the gelling process.

Until then we’ll leave it to Bucs Nation to tell us which best was THE best, and which worst was THE worst, of Week 3.

Poll

Which of these was truly the best part of the Buccaneers’ Week 3 win?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    Antoine Winfield Jr.
    (723 votes)
  • 27%
    Shaquil Barrett’s Revenge
    (334 votes)
  • 14%
    Tight End Contribution
    (179 votes)
1236 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which of these was truly the worst part of the Buccaneers’ Week 3 win?

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    Hamstring Injuries
    (568 votes)
  • 27%
    Penalties
    (291 votes)
  • 20%
    Running Game
    (217 votes)
1076 votes total Vote Now